How To Price You Product/Service For Maximum Profit

Do you sell anything? I bet it was quite difficult coming up with the price, right? Trust me, I’ve been there. You want a price that ensures you make maximum profit yet you do not want to alienate your customer. What to do?

Here’s a very interesting article on: Pricing experiments you might not know, but can learn from.

The article gives concrete examples of interesting price experiments that you can learn from.

The Power of Understanding and Solving Problems

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post: Find A Small Problem, Provide A Simple Solution.

Many have made money and built reputations by solving problems. Doctors cure the suffering of illness, psychiatrists help heal the troubled mind, lawyers protect names from being tarnished, consultants offer marketing advice and a dazzling array of products help to remove any inconvenience you might possibly encounter in your daily life.

Many people are solving problems. They’re all offering solutions to people who need them. Some are giving them away for free. Others are selling them for a price. When problem and solution is a perfect fit, a relationship of trust is built between two parties. If this helps me now, it might help me again. If this solves my problem, it might solve my friend’s problem too.

There’s a connection. The problem solver becomes more popular as more problems are solved for more people. Every time you solve a problem in a way that’s better than others, you add undeniable value to the person in need. After performing a search engine query on a topic, what pages do you bookmark? The ones that offer you the best possible solution.

As a business or website owner, you have to face the challenge of getting people to consume what you’re offering, be it free content on your blog, a piece of merchandise or premium service. You’ll have compete with other problem solvers in the market. Other blogs, other companies in the same field, other service providers. All offering different solutions.

For instance, there are many different products to solve the problem of dirty dishes. A plethora of different washing fluids, sponges, machines and racks. In most scenarios, there are more solutions than there are problems. Solutions themselves become problems to be solved.

Most of the time problem-solvers are already engaging your target audience but that doesn’t mean you should stay away. There’s always room for another solution, especially when its one that addresses the problem with more elegance, more force, more precision or more style.

First, identify the problems facing your target audience. Go deep into the user-generated recesses of the web: monitor forums, social networking websites, blogs and places where people interact and talk online. Understand the problem more deeply than your competitor. Go after nuance. Absorb feedback on current solutions. Know what they want but isn’t available.

Then, create a solution that builds on the flaws of other solutions. Or one that completely circumvents the existing paradigm by addressing the problem from a different angle, using different methodology or a combination of existing solutions. Be daring and creative.

Try going wider for broader appeal or swim in narrower channels to reach hardcore fans in order to gain a support base. The same applies to online publications like blogs on specific topics. What problems do your readers have? How are you solving them with your content? If solutions already exist elsewhere, how can you do better so you’ll be the go-to site?

Nobody is able to constantly solve problems in the best possible way to please every single person. All solutions have flaws because consumers evolve. People are also going to look elsewhere because of boredom. But understanding exactly what problems and solutions are out there, allows you to better score points or gain favor with any audience.

Source: DoshDosh.

An Experiment in Kenyan Movies Part 2 – SEO

You guys remember our very recent project in Kenyan movies? We thought we’d share everything that we’re doing for the site – it will be more fun that away, ama? Also, hopefully one of our Like Chapaa readers can learn something. What follows, therefore, is a discussion on how we’re trying to market the site through search engine optimization.

Now, one of the best ways to get visitors to your website is to ensure that when people search on Google, they find you. For us, we want people to find us when they google “Kenyan movies”.

The SEO Strategy
Step one was to estimate the expected traffic using the Google Adwords Keyword tool. This tool gives an estimate of how many people search for a particular word/phrase on Google every month. It can be used to estimate how many people you can expect to be searching for your website. The tool also gives you ideas on other key words and phrases that are related and which you should/could also target.

We found that about 8,100 people search for “Kenyan movies” on Google every month. Now, this is an extremely small number. This could mean that very few people are interested in Kenyan movies (which is probably true). This is just sad for our movies industry. Sigh.

However, this can be viewed more positively a such: it is probably going to be quite easy (relatively) to dominate this keyword on Google and get to the number one spot in the search results pages.

Also, there are other related keywords/phrases such as free kenyan movies online, kenyan movie stars, kenyan movies online, kenya tv, kenya video and so on. Collectively these push the number of monthly searches to well over 50,000. A good figure – yes?

So the strategy for us would be to dominate search results for “Kenyan Movies” and then target the other keywords one by one.

What happens when you are at number one in the search results pages? It is important to be number one because the site listed at number on in Google search results usually gets upwards of 90% of the people who search. For example, if we rise to number one for “Kenyan Movies” we should expect 16,200 visitors (90% of 18,000) to our website every month. If we rise to number one in the search results pages for multiple keywords/phrases then our site’s visitors increase dramatically. For free. This is, indeed, the power of SEO (search engine optimization) for your website. You can get tens of thousands of targeted, relevant visitors to your website for free.

The Situation So Far
We launched the website on October 2, 2011. Today is October 5, 2011. Before October 2, if you searched for “Kenyan Movies” you would have no hope to find SpaceYangu because, well, we did not exist.

We’re happy to announce that if you search for “Kenyan Movies” today, you will find us on page 8 of the search results. This puts our website at Number 76 out of 5,310,000 others. Of course our strategy is to get to number one but getting to 76 out of 5 million is pretty good for three days’ work, I think. Here’s a screenshot for proof:

Kenyan movies - Google Search

Kenyan movies - Google Search (click for larger)

Along the way, we found a competitor! is a website that is also about Kenyan movies as well as other forms of Kenyan entertainment. It is always good to find competitors as it validates what you are trying to do. We’re confident that through SEO alone, we can outdo 🙂 Actually, in fact, at Number 76 in the search results, we’re already better than this site. (I say this full of respect for them, of course).

Some of you may be wondering how we improved our SEO so fast. We’re honestly not quite sure ourselves. I think it is because this is not a very competitive search term. What we did, though, is fully documented here. Please read that. You will learn that SEO is all about relevance and authority. So, for us, the strategy is 1)to make sure that our websites is as relevant to “Kenyan Movies” as possible and 2) to get as many other websites to link to as possible. It is going well so far. Let us see how long it will take to get to Number 1. Wish us luck!!

We intend to document everything we can about how we’re building up SpaceYangu. If there is anything specific that you want to know, please leave a comment below.

PS: You can Hire Us if you want us to do SEO for your own website.

The Power of ‘Organic’

One of the most important business concepts is captured by the word “organic”. I actually use this word quite a bit in conversations and in talks and it’s not really because I’m into organic food.

No, when I use the word “organic” I’m talking about what happens when you get any slice of real nature in all its richness, in any sphere of life.”Vitamin C” is a substance called ascorbic acid, something you can make in the lab. You want pure vitamins? No problem, somebody can always sell you some, it’s 100% pure from textbook chemistry.

But everybody knows you can’t live on laboratory vitamins. Plus we all know deep down that vitamins + junk food = self deception. But… if you eat a spinach salad, you get something entirely different. Whether you know what’s in it or not, you know it’s good for you. Why? Because it’s real. You don’t have to go to a health food store to get that; you don’t even need to know what vitamins are. All you have to do is eat real food.

The business version of this might be… Let’s say you’re thinking about investing in a company, or even getting a job there – which would provide you with more information about how healthy they are?

A) Reading all the press releases in their website
B) Sitting in their lunch room for 30 minutes, just listening to the conversations around you

Fact is (B) is probably the better way to go. You’d quickly develop a sense of the morale, the spirit of the company that a piece of ‘official’ communication deliberately attempts to hide.

Malcolm Gladwell refers to this in his book “Blink”, where he discusses our remarkable human ability to make snap judgments based on quickly sizing up this sort of organic information. He calls the process of forming accurate first impressions “thin slicing.” “Blink” is a great read and makes many valuable points. John Fox and I talk about this organic cultural factor in our interview.

I’ve defined marketing as ‘helping people who need each other find each other’ and that is best accomplished by clearly and effectively communicating who you are.Which of course requires that you know who you are in the first place.

If you know that and communicate it effectively, you attract not just the right customers, but the right employees, vendors, partners and investors. The consistency and believability of your message is contagious.

The whole of this article is based on an email received from Perry Marshal

Market research vs. Responding to customers

Is there a difference between market research and responding to customer needs? Some interrelate the two and obviously there is a difference.

Market research means you the entrepreneur goes out there and source data about your customers needs and wants. At this stage you are not yet responding to a need, you are merely finding out if indeed there is a need. How many Kenyan entrepreneurs can say with a serious face that they have carried out their market research and that is why they are in fact offering the service or product that they are?

Responding to a customer need means provide the customer with a solution for an issue that they have brought out to you the business person. Are you able to respond to your customers need at the right time or do you do it when it suits you best?

The importance of carrying out market research will actually help you know and understand your customer, you will actually be able to meet their needs easily, you’d ordinarily be better prepared.

You normally find that a brand such as Bata has done its market research when it comes to its line of Marie Claire shoes for women. The shoes are classy, they are affordable, comfortable and Bata actually change the range every now and then so a shoe you buy in this month will be replaced by a different design in a month or so. The brand has really worked hard to get itself back to where it once was. The average Kenyan lady wants to look good and these shoes do that. Don’t fret, Bata didn’t pay for this, I am simply speaking my mind.

Responding to customer needs is difficult because sometimes you simply are not sure how to respond or for that matter how much it will cost you to respond. Mobile phone operators in Kenya really had to respond to the customer needs by reducing their costs, remember the tariff battle of 2010. Well perhaps not the best example since there were many other factors that preempted the changes. Responding to a customers need could range from simply producing an additional report for your client to reducing a transaction cost for your client.

Have you done your market research or are you continually finding yourself trying to catchup to your customers needs?

Naomi Kinyanjui is an aspiring entrepreneur, a Procurement Specialist by profession with a passion for life, writing and making a difference. Follow her on Procurement Mentality 101 blog where the talk is all about supply chain and procurement and maintaining professionalism in such a controversial field.

Write A Business Plan That Is Not Boring

A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities.

Here’s how to write one without boring the life out of its readers: Don’t Make My Eyes Bleed

The Long Grind Before You Become an Overnight Success

I read Seth Godin’s “The Dip: The Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit and When to Stick” over the weekend.

It has some interesting approaches to life and work. Let me paraphrase:

If you (or your company) want to be “the best in the world” at something…you need to work through the beginning phase of development and be able to hang on and evolve through the long development phase, which he calls “the dip”…and you need to drop any distracting investments of time and money for which you do not have adequate advantage to make it through “the dip” — this is called “intelligent quitting”.

The long development phase, which can get progressively more difficult, might be a “dip” with success at the end of the tunnel, or a “cul-de-sac”—a place where you can work forever and never get the rainbow. And you have to learn to discern the difference…

There are big advantages that accrue to those who are “best in the world”.

The Dip is a very interesting and inspiring book which I encourage everyone to read. You can take a lot of meaning from its pages but to me, the book’s main idea is that usually “overnight success” is not actually overnight. For you to become really, really successful you often have to go through an extended period of time where you work VERY hard yet you don’t actually feel like you are making any progress.

This article describes this situation perfectly: The Long Grind Before You Become an Overnight Success.

The lesson here is that if you are working on a new idea, a new business, a new product…a new anything then you should be prepared for the long and hard-fought “dip” which you very probably will go through on your way to success.